Miami Fine Chocolate and Food Show: Not Wonkaville

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All photos by Laine Doss
Cacao Art's fine chocolates on display.
Would you wait 20 minutes for a bite of fine chocolate? If so, then you might have enjoyed the Miami Fine Chocolate and Food Show, held this past weekend at Pinecrest Gardens.

We're not sure if the show producers were worried about rain or warm weather affecting the delicate confections, but the chocolate vendors were squeezed into two tight indoor spaces -- leading to dozens of people waiting for a chance to go in and sample their wares. Meanwhile, up the road, vendors selling knives, cookware, meat delivery, and pastas looked slightly bored.

Read also:
- Founder of Miami Fine Chocolate and Food Show: "Culinary Scene Beyond South Beach Deserves Recognition"

The $40 admission ($35 in advance) included 15 sample tickets but that didn't contain much purchasing power, as vendors asked for as much as five tickets for a sip of wine, a bite of truffle, or a brownie. After that, it was time to break out the wallet and start paying ala carte, making this sweet afternoon filled with added expenses.

If you wanted something more substantial than a brownie, there were about a dozen food vendors. In addition to the usual festival gyros, the AZ Canteen food truck sold a spicy gumbo, Jack's offered single-serving pizzas from their portable wood-fired oven, and Spartico at the Mayfair Hotel sold chicken sliders.

Though Pinecrest Gardens is a beautiful venue, the show was scattered throughout the location. Upon entry, there were no maps to guide you through the garden's winding paths and even though we covered what we thought to be the entire garden twice, we felt as though a good chunk of the show was missed-- or the show didn't attract that many vendors.

All told, if the admission was, say $10, we would have thought the show successful, but for a $40 price tag, we expected a Wonka-like world of endless chocolate and drink instead of the few bites of candy we received.

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People lined up for one of the two chocolate tasting areas.

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Pig-shaped chocolate and bacon bon bons by SusyPops.

Location Info

Pinecrest Gardens

11000 Red Road, Pinecrest, FL

Category: Restaurant

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These events seem to be the latest craze - "let's have a beer/wine/dessert/food festival!"  But there's really no accountability when they don't deliver.   This is the problem with pop-up food/alcohol fairs.  Whether they oversell tickets or under deliver food/drinks - this is not the first time this has happened. I'd venture to say most tickets are likely being sold thru the discount sites (Groupon, Living Social, etc).  Hmm, if you've got to dump your tickets on those sites, then you're asking too much in the first place.   

asperez Pinecrest Gardens we completely agree with your insights.  This was a first time endeavor for the organizer of the show (they do the Chicago Chocolate show and a really good job with it).  As you are aware, we produce most of our shows ourselves...this time, we were approached by an outside show organizer who rented out the property.  Our market is quirky--nothing like Chicago, but more importantly, the organizer understands the issues, and in our post-show meeting today restated his comittment to making this show a great show for years to come by recognizing several issues;  1. ticket price (it was clearly too high) 2.  vendor numbers (there were too few) 3.  samples (not enough for the crowds that came, and in many cases too skimpy) & 4.  not enough entertainment or children's activities.  I believe that this will be rectified next year...and I encourage anyone who has further comments for him, to send him a message through the Miami Fine Chocolate and Food Show website or Facebook Page. 

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